A Right to Information (RTI) activist from Panipat has approached lokayukta Pritam Pal to investigate the role of various politicians in allegedly shielding senior bureaucrats in financial irregularities in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in Ambala district.
In an affidavit to the lokayukta, activist PP Kapoor alleged that chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar and his predecessor Bhupinder Singh Hooda were shielding several IAS and HCS officers, who were identified by the state vigilance bureau (SVB) for allegedly having ulterior interests.
The complainant also demanded legal action against IAS officers Mohd Shayin, Sameer Pal Srow and RP Bhardwaj, the then Ambala deputy commissioners, who among others, have been indicted by the SVB, but the state government had not given orders to register a case against them.
"While the respective Ambala DCs failed to discharge their duties in keeping a check on the fair use of public money, their political masters have been supporting their misdeeds by not taking action. Besides punitive action against all accused, I demand the public money siphoned off be recovered from them," said the activist.
According to the lokayukta rules, a complaint has to be made under an oath in an affidavit and the complainant is liable for a legal action, if the accusations levelled by him were found to be untrue. Kapoor said that fair investigation could further expose the wrongdoings by bureaucracy supported by politicians in the state.
Following a delayed clearance to the vigilance bureau report by the state government, the SVB on January 29 had booked forest department officials, including the then DFO (territorial), in connection with the MGNREGS scam where `5 crore were allegedly embezzled while planting mass saplings and developing herbal parks in the district.
Forest officials have been accused of fabricating records, feeding fake data to the management information system (MIS), and destroying muster rolls and vouchers.
Kapoor said that while the SVB had submitted its report in November, 2012, the previous Hooda-led Congress regime and the present BJP government remained reluctant to take any action against the senior bureaucrats.
"Khattar government has given a nod for a legal action against junior officials while the IAS and HCS officers indicted in the SVB have been spared for unspecified reasons. It amounts to misuse of their positions by Khattar and Hooda and their roles should be investigated in the entire episode by the lokayukta," alleged Kapoor in his complaint to the anti-corruption.
On January 14, HT had reported that the SVB had denied information under the RTI about the case findings to Kapoor.
The RTI activist, who is pursuing his battle to expose corruption, said that it was a matter of concern that officials found guilty in the SVB report had been given important posts by the state government.
"Besides Khattar and Hooda, several other politicians are instrumental in shielding the officials named in the probe, but the respective state governments are unwilling to initiate any action against the erring senior bureaucrats," he further alleged.